Have you ever missed capturing the perfect photo or video opportunity because you got hung up getting to your smartphone’s camera app in time? Your phone likely has several shortcuts built into its software and settings, although some may be less obvious than others. Here’s a quick guide to getting the speed you need so you don’t miss your moment.

Need the camera now? With most recent iPhones running iOS 14, just swipe left from the lock screen to go directly to the camera app. Pressing the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the lock screen also opens the app.

 Get the Shot

On many Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones running Android 11, you can open your default camera app by rapidly pressing the phone’s power button or Side key twice. (If not, open the Android system settings and check the Gestures options, or confirm that Samsung’s Side key settings have the Quick Launch feature enabled for the camera.)

You can also tell your phone’s assistant to open the camera for you. Android’s Google Assistant will even snap the shutter or start recording on command, as will the Bixby assistant on Samsung Galaxy phones.

And the volume buttons on many phones also double as an additional shutter button.

Smartphones typically have one front-facing camera for self-portraits and at least one camera on the back. To switch between them, tap the circular-arrows icon in the camera app or tell the voice assistant to “take a selfie.”

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